GTA 5 made a shift from the core GTA formula in many ways. The most significant change came in the form of its multiple protagonists.
For the most part, the GTA games have followed one protagonist (which the player takes control of) as he rises through the ranks of whichever criminal organization he aligns with.
With GTA 5, however, Rockstar Games decided to double down on their love for heists and movies like Heat. This is why they assembled their very own crew for players to take control of - the aging and complex Michael, the chaotic Trevor and the hungry upstart Franklin.
The three complement each other in a way that GTA fans did not expect, making for one of the most iconic trios in gaming. While this experiment succeeded with flying colors, should the next GTA game follow suit and feature multiple protagonists?
Should Rockstar Games go back to a single protagonist with GTA 6?
Narrative focus and consistency
While GTA 5 had very few issues maintaining narrative synergy and pacing, it is going to be extremely difficult to achieve that again. For one, players will be expecting more functionality and utility out of the same system, which raises the stakes for the developers in a big way.
Moreover, having multiple protagonists usually means players will have a hard time attaching themselves to one character. As is the case with most games that have multiple protagonists, it usually results in the material not having a consistent perspective or tone.
This was an issue with GTA 5 as well, with Trevor's line of missions feeling completely out of place with the kind of family drama Michael was going through. While it does allow for more variety and perspectives, it also lessens the investment that the player might have in the game.
It is much easier to invest in one character and follow their arc through the story, as shifting perspectives means losing out on momentum and synergy.
A customizable protagonist
In most cases, a blank-slate customizable protagonist is a real buzzkill since they won't have much of a backstory or pre-written origins. However, games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Mass Effect have proven that the issue can be solved by letting players craft their character's personality.
This is something that the GTA franchise should finally embrace, as it will allow players to truly remove all boundaries of immersion.
Custom characters can be quite a challenge. However, if there is any studio that can overcome a big challenge, it is Rockstar Games.